‘Milwaukee’ – The Both
Aimee Mann has been churning out excellent solo albums at a pretty good clip since her 2000 breakthrough Bachelor No. 2.
In 2014 she took a little detour, pairing up with alt-rocker Ted Leo in a band called The Both and releasing a self-titled LP.
It’s hard to decide how seriously to take one-offs like this, especially when the other party is a complete mystery to me, but one listen revealed The Both to be very much in the vein of Mann’s solo work.
Leo provides a harder guitar edge than Mann has utilized in recent years, but otherwise their songwriting sensibilities appear to be completely in sync. Either that, or Mann handled most of the writing duties.
‘Milwaukee,’ the album’s second track, is the song that grabbed me first. It’s a gas from start to finish and a perfect marriage of these two artists and friends.
We walked over the bridge in Milwaukee
Past the statue of Fonz and the duck
With the wind kicking in
And the sparrows running amok
And that woman, your friend who was pregnant
Put your hand on her belly for luck
And I laughed cause it’s you
And I knew that you knew you were stuck
[Chorus: Ted Leo & Aimee Mann]
You can tell
By the laugh in the dark at the sound of the bell
You can tell
(It’s the nucleus burning inside of the cell) (x2)
[Verse 2: Ted Leo]
We got over that bridge and went walking
Back to a table with cards to be dealt
And a show where the whole front row
Was taking pictures of itself
And then, man, your old friend
Turned the night on its end
Like time was a bottomless well
But you grabbed me and said
“Come on back from the ledge for a spell”